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Samuels: Streamline biz permits, emergencies

Posted by: Bill McAuliffe Updated: October 15, 2013 - 6:01 PM

The big red fire engine would stay in the garage, while smaller SUVs would respond to health emergencies in Minneapolis if Don Samuels were mayor.

In a press conference outlining several measures to to make city government more efficient and business-friendly, City Council Member Samuels said he'd advance a plan already in the works under current Mayor R.T. Rybak to equip fire responders with SUVs, which could respond to health emergencies instead of full fire rigs. Health calls are 18 times more frequent than actual fires, and SUVs could respond to them for half the cost of running a fire truck to the call, saving the city about $7 million, Samuels said.

In a press conference outside the Smack Shack in the North Loop, Samuels also said he'd launch Project Green Light, which would get developers and businesses with experience in the city through the permitting process faster than they can negotiate it now.

Samuels also announced he'd use $250,000 of city funds to establish the City of Lakes Investment Fund. It would provide loans and grants to small and medium-sized businesses, preferably manufacturing businesses, that want to locate and operate in Minneapolis.  The businesses would have to agree to meet targets for job creation and wages.

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